Opening its season in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, the Santa Clara men's and women's cross country teams were led by a freshman debut at the top spot on both sides at the USF Invitational. Both Bronco teams placed sixth in large fields of 21 teams for the women and 19 teams for the men. Cal won the women's race and Stanford won the men's competition.
After spending the next few days on a training trip near Santa Cruz, both teams return to action next week at the Hornet Jamboree hosted by Sac State.
"We were very pleased with our efforts," said Bronco head coach Felipe Montoro. "The women in particular did an excellent job of executing our race plan and I thought our men performed well also.
Running only five men and eight women, Montoro felt like he and Bronco assistant coach Pete Cushman learned a lot about where the team's fitness is collectively. "We are in a great position heading into the season," added Montoro.
The women were led by freshman Kate Yanish, who improved dramatically from her best marks in high school. Yanish was 19th overall in a time of 18:36 for the 5k course. "Kate has looked great in practice, but translating that to success in a race can sometimes be a challenge for freshmen. She ran really well and has a lot more in the tank," said Montoro.
Also running well for the Broncos was freshman Allison Maio, who finished in 36th place with a time of 19:00, another personal best. Sophomore Emily Robinson was next across the line for SCU, running a big personal best by running 19:09 for 42nd. Junior Jamie Anderson and freshman Camille Dyer rounded out the scoring for the Broncos placing 45th (19:16) and 64th (19:45), respectively. Freshman Elsa Valenzuela (19:58) and sophomores Amia Nash (20:10) and Lauren Spears (20:14) also competed for the women.
Freshman Sam Holeman led the way for the men's team running the first 8k of his young career. Holeman placed 33rd in a time of 26:30. "Sam ran really smart," said Montoro. "He was very disciplined early in the race and moved up the entire time".
Sophomore Peter Stephens and freshman Alexi Taylor finished in 39th (26:49) and 40th (26:55), respectively. Freshman Adam Perez and Ryan Greenough were right on their heels placing 42nd (26:58) and 45th (27:08), respectively. The men scored 174 points, which tied them for 4th place, however since SCU only fielded five runners the moved down to 6th not having a sixth runner to break the tie.